2018 Village Creek 10K/25K
This year marks my third adventure at the Village Creek 10K/25K; last year, I was in Phoenix for the Phoenix Women's Half Marathon (recap here) and missed out on what turned out to be the only year, since its inaugural run in 2014, that the trail has been dry on race day.
I use the term "adventure" because, when the trail looks like it does in the pictures below (which I totally stole from my friend Jana after having long ago decided that carrying my phone was a bad idea), there is just no other way to describe why we would all decide to pay money for this experience. Jana suggested we henceforth refer to this as an Adventure Spa Day, which is perfect.
If not for the camaraderie, the homemade cinnamon rolls (finish line treat), the woodallions (handmade finisher medals), the phenomenal race direction and crew and the great story, I would probably stay in bed and sleep in; however, I am always excited about this race.
Returning from injury has limited my ability to do much hill/trail running so, for the first time, I decided I'd be better off limiting myself to the 10K; looking back on the elevation profile from years prior, when I'd run the 25K, I naively expected the 10K to be relatively flat.
Jana, Becca and I took off together for the cross country-style start, through a field of wet grass that, on the return to the finish line, seems to be about one hundred miles long. We started off pretty easy, trying to get a feel for the trail conditions, and then we separated just after the 2 mile mark (I think!); the 10K went off to the left and the 25K runners turned right.
From there, I was on my own...sort of. I found myself behind two women who seemed to be pretty strong trail runners and I thought that if I could manage to keep up with them then I'd at least have a couple of trailblazers to guide me through the super soupy, slippery, mucky spots. It was a struggle to stick with them, since mile 2.8-3.8 is completely uphill. Huh. Note to self for next time, the 10K is not flat.
Just shy of the four mile mark, there was a water stop being manned by Michael, a member of the local running club that puts on the race; he said, "in case you're interested, the number three female just went over the hill." My legs were already getting tired, from pushing hard up that hill and sliding around on the trail, and I had little hope of catching someone who was headed over another hill; however, a little spark ignited.
Thanks to Michael, I kept pushing and tried to stay focused on the next step ahead of me rather than catching up to another runner; as I inched my way toward the five mile mark, I found myself next to another guy who said, "hey, the third place female just went around the bend." I chuckled and said, "thanks so much, man, but I don't think I'm going to be able to catch her." He quickly responded, "I think if you stick with it, you can make it." I owe he and Michael an extra cinnamon roll, at least.
With less than a mile to go, I saw her in front of me; I tried to build up a little speed which, if you'd seen the trail you would know how funny this is, and zoomed past as quickly as I could, hoping for the best. There was no way to know how much she had left in the tank, but I put everything I had into those mud puddles.
I finished eight minutes after the second female, and just a minute and a half ahead of Jenny, the woman I passed for third overall female. We had a great time chatting after the race and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to meet her; she was waiting on a friend to finish the race, like me, so we talked about running (of course!) and upcoming plans.
Jana and Becca both ran fantastic races, especially considering the conditions, and I ate my cinnamon roll so fast that taking a picture of it never even occurred to me; they are delicious. The race is held at a state park that has the best showers I ever seen; it's such a treat to be able to rinse off and change clothes before heading home.
As long as it fits into my schedule, I will always register for this event - no matter the conditions: the Muckas Running Club puts on a well-organized, super fun race; I love the folks who show up, rain or shine (okay, mostly rain); and the park is beautiful. Now that it's an Adventure Spa Day, I feel certain I can entice even more friends and teammates to attend with me, wouldn't you agree?